Innocence and safety may appear quite unrelated when one considers the widespread suffering engendered through violence and so-called natural disasters. But true innocence runs far deeper than a superficial guiltlessness. The understanding of man's innate innocence as the spiritual image of God, divine Spirit, brings powerful protection from unjust, injurious circumstances.
The Bible relates how Daniel became the victim of a conspiracy plotted by jealous compatriots. Refusing to comply with their maliciously contrived decree that petitions should be addressed exclusively to the king, Daniel faithfully persisted in praying to God, and was therefore cast into a den of lions.
Daniel might well have been tempted to yield to outrage and fear. But instead he continued to worship the one God. He must have become deeply aware of his moral and spiritual innocence. Perhaps he even glimpsed that his innocence was not so much a personal attribute as an innate quality from God. Certainly Daniel's identification with innocence and his loyalty to the one God protected him. As he explained to the relieved king the next morning, ''My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.'' n1
n1 Danial 6:22.
Christian Science, in accord with the Scriptures, shows that an understanding of man's innocence as God's spiritual reflection enables us to prove His lifepreserving power in our lives. The earthly, material view of man as a mortal , separated from God and subject to suffering or chance extinction, is the promoter of discord, for material concepts give rise to sin and sickness. But no one is compelled to accept this false concept. Although we appear to live in a material body and to be subject to sin and the hazards of material living, this is not the truth of our being.
Actively realizing what is true is effective prayer. And as we accompany our prayer with a sincere effort to express such Godlike qualities as purity, integrity, and unselfed love, we become more aware of our God-endowed innocence protecting us. Mary Baker Eddy, The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''Innocence and Truth overcome guilt and error.'' n2
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 568.
During the last world war, throughout months of frequent aerial bombardment I had a strong conviction that in the degree that I maintained true innocence in thought and life I would survive. I felt a deep assurance that identity is actually spiritual, safe in God's presence. Despite several close shaves, I emerged from the experience unscathed.
Christ Jesus' healing works evidenced God's love for His likeness, man, and proved man's real identity to be whole and sinless. At the same time, Jesus never failed to rebuke sin. When he saved the adulterous woman from being stoned for her immorality, he made it clear to her that he did not condemn her; but he did condemn the sin, for he said, ''Go, and sin no more.'' n3
n3 John 8:11:
Clearly, Jesus differentiated between man's true identity as God's pure offspring and the sinfulness that the carnal mind attaches to mortals. His forgiveness of the sinner and his insistence that her wrongdoing be forsaken indicated his view of man's actual being as Godlike.
To the degree that we understand man's spiritual uprightness and steadfastly live by that understanding, we'll be safe. We are not condemned to be chance victims of evil.
Our acknowledgment that man is Godlike and spiritual acts as law in our lives. And this divine law pronounces upon all mankind the compassionate verdict ''Not guilty!'' Everyone is free to claim and live man's sonship with God and to progressively find his true being, forever innocent and safe. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide. . . . I will wash mine hands in innocency. Psalms 26:1,6